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Recent Graduates' Perspectives on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Creation of New Entrepreneurship Course

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Education Session 3

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1030.1 - 24.1030.13



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Paper Authors


Nabila A. Bousaba University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Nabila (Nan) BouSaba is a faculty associate with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte since 2008; she is the senior design instructor for the department, additional courses taught include Basic Circuit for non- majors, and Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship course ECGR4090/5090. Nan Earned her BS and Master Degrees in Electrical Engineering (1982, 1986) from North Carolina Agricultural &Technical State University. Some of the senior design teams that she mentored include the UNCC Parking team, IEEE Hardware competition teams. In addition she mentored industry sponsored projects from Microsoft, NASA and special Innovation and Entrepreneurship teams. She published and presented papers in ASEE conferences in June 2009, 2010, and 2011. Prior to her current position at UNC- Charlotte, Nan worked for IBM (15 years) and Solectron (8 years) in the area of test development and management.

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James M. Conrad University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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James M. Conrad received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and his master’s and doctorate degrees in computer engineering from North Carolina State University. He is currently a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has served as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas and as an instructor at North Carolina State University. He has also worked at IBM in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Houston, Texas; at Ericsson/Sony Ericsson in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and at BPM Technology in Greenville, South Carolina. Dr. Conrad is a Professional Engineer, Senior Member of the IEEE and a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP). He is also a member of ASEE, Eta Kappa Nu, and the Project Management Institute. He is the author of numerous books, book chapters, journal articles, and conference papers in the areas of embedded systems, robotics, parallel processing, and engineering education.

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Recent Graduates Perspectives on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Creation of New Entrepreneurship CourseAbstract: Many Electrical and Computer Engineering students at the University of XXXXshowed an interest in entrepreneurship when interviewed during their senior exit interview.Several students highlighted the existence of a taste of innovation in our capstone senior designclasses (SDI and SDII) and elaborated on the mechanism of entrepreneurship in our ProfessionalPractice course, but they all agreed that the department was missing a dedicate course oninnovation and entrepreneurship.This information encouraged us to conduct a survey to assess the true level of intensity. Twofaculty from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department interviewed students from themost recently completed Senior Design capstone courses to assess their perspective oninnovation and entrepreneurship. The faculty evaluated students ideas, compared the data fromstudents who participated solely in industry supported projects versus students worked on facultysponsored projects. They analyzed this feedback and used it in the development of the newcourse for the benefit of future students. The survey was taken by thirty seven students; twentytwo of them worked on an industry sponsored project, while fifteen students worked on facultysponsored Senior Design projects. All thirty seven students were asked a specific set of questionsgeared toward identifying students’ knowledge in identifying new business concept, identifyingopportunity, analyzing the market for new venture; and determining sales and market strategy fora product.The results of the survey indicated the need for the students to learn about new ventureopportunities, concept and strategy, a need to learn about funding, the source of capital and learnhow to search for grant from different sources. All these methods were incorporated into a newcourse “Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship” for Engineering students that was offeredin our department for the first time in the spring 2013.This course consisted of a mixture of graduate and undergraduate multidisciplinary studentsworking on five projects; each project was unique, formed out of students or faculty ideas. Threeteams out of the five projects continued working on the assigned project during their capstonesenior design courses for the fall 2013-spring 2014 with a strong plan for commercialization ofthe product. These students were motivated, self-driven and excited about their projects and thepossibility of launching a business successfully by using our program, and taking advantage ofthe resources available to them from our University’s Office of Technology Transfer. While thiscourse gives a chance for our students to work with a faculty on the development of a newproduct, it will build a foundation for our engineering students to pursue a certificate inInnovation and Entrepreneurship at our Business school if they wish. This course helped studentsidentify opportunities to implement all ideas; helped the individual managed business growth,and provided methods of using critical thinking. This course was designed to be valuable forengineering students who plan to embark on the process of innovation and entrepreneurshipwhile practicing engineering.

Bousaba, N. A., & Conrad, J. M. (2014, June), Recent Graduates' Perspectives on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Creation of New Entrepreneurship Course Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22963

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